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Showing posts from August, 2007

Off Getting Married.

Well, I'm off to Kluang to get hitched.

Will blog again a week after the wedding, with hopefully good pics and possibly rants about meddlesome relatives. Kinokuniya also gave me a new book to review yesterday, so I suppose you can expect a new review soon* as well!

Have a happy 50th merdeka, my friends!

*As soon as The Star possibly can, that is. Feh.

Jules Verne in Malay: Translators Wanted.

Looks like PTS wants translators to translate the works of Jules Verne into Malay. Interested? Go sign up.

I personally would love to see this project come to fruition, as long as the works are translated with complete and utter care. (There's also a Sherlock Holmes translation project ongoing of which I am keen on as well.)

But I have to wonder. Will these translators translate Jules Verne's works from English? I doubt PTS will be able to find enough good translators to translate from the original French. If this is so, how true will the translations be to the originals? It's bad enough that some of the original English translations--which I assume PTS will work from since they are out of copyright and therefore free--are considerednotupto snuff. Even Jules Verne lamented about the translations of his time, saying, "I’m not surprised that the translations you’ve been speaking to me about are bad ... But we can do nothing about it, absolutely nothing."

But here PTS …

Saramago means "Wild Radish".

The New York Times profiles Nobel Prize Winner Jose Saramago. I particularly liked the factoid about how he got his surname:
“When I showed up, aged 7, for my first day of school in Lisbon, I had to present my identity papers,” [Saramago] told me. It was only then his parents discovered that the last name printed on his birth certificate was not their family name, de Sousa. The village clerk had instead registered the baby as “Saramago,” or “wild radish.”

“It was an insulting nickname villagers gave my father,” Saramago explained. “The clerk wrote it perhaps because he was drunk, perhaps as a prank. My father wasn’t very happy, but if that was his son’s official name, well, then, he had to take it, too. I think never before in history has a son named his father.”

Amir's Book Launch.

From Amir Muhammad's blog:
Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things will be launched on

Sunday, 16 September
3-5pm
Gallery One, The Annexe, Central Market Kuala Lumpur.

The book will be on sale for RM20. Murah je bang.

All are welcome.More details when you click on the link.

Cloud Parade Day.

It rained heavily yesterday afternoon. I was jogging naked as usual, when the skies split open and vomited a voluminous amount of water upon me. The water droplets fell heavy and hard and my face and shoulders and private parts hurt. I stopped for a moment to decide whether to seek for shelter or to continue jogging. I didn't want to stop jogging just because it was raining. I was on a roll and I was about to achieve my daily target. But if I continued I would have risked bumping into a tree or falling down a drain because the downpour was so heavy, visibility of my surroundings was minimal at best.

As I stood in the rain, braving the pounding of the constant dropping of water upon me, a small cloud fell out from the skies and descended towards me. I would like to describe this particular cloud as being made out of billions of droplets of condensed water vapour but it was not at all like that. It was not a normal cloud at all, though who am I to say what a normal cloud looks like o…

Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville.

I mentioned Jean-Luc Godard's retro-futuristic noir movie, Alphaville, in my review of After Dark. Luck must shine on all of us, for Google Video has it up on their intertubes for you to digest.

Wikipedia, as always, has a nice summary of what Alphaville is about:Alphaville combines the genres of dystopian science fiction and film noir. Although set far in the future on another planet, there are no special effects or elaborate sets; instead, the film was shot in real locations in Paris, the night-time streets of the capital becoming the streets of Alphaville, while modernist glass and concrete buildings represent the city's interiors. In addition, the characters refer to twentieth century events; for example, the hero describes himself as a Guadalcanal veteran.

Eddie Constantine plays Lemmy Caution, a trenchcoat-wearing secret agent. Constantine had already played this role in dozens of previous films; the character was originally created by British pulp novelist Peter Cheyney. …

REVIEW: After Dark by Haruki Murakami.

I was beginning to give up hope that The Star would ever publish this, but those wily editors seem to have remembered after all.

Behold! My review of Haruki Murakami's After Dark:
Different approach

Review by TED MAHSUN

After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami
ISBN: 978-1846550478
Publisher: Harvill Secker, 191 pages

WHILE Haruki Murakami has his throng of fans and is constantly applauded for his works, he has also been criticised of being repetitive. Critics have denounced his books as being nothing but the same tired story of a directionless male protagonist going nowhere.

As if in response to this, Murakami took a different tack in Kafka on the Shore, his previous novel, where he discarded his usual first-person narrative, and wrote the book from a third-person perspective and changed his protagonist from a directionless young man ... to a directionless young boy.

Okay, so it’s not much of a change, but I guess he’s got to start somewhere. In After Dark, his latest novel, Murakami goes out on …

Hooray! A children's book.

I have been giggling non-stop (yes, I'm immature, so sue me) since I saw the cover of this children's book published by PTS. Man... couldn't they have added an extra "i" or something?

*snicker snicker snicker*

(Title translates to "Hooray, we won!")

Man-made Tornados As Energy Source.

This isn't book related but I'm blogging this to remind me to write a sf novel one day that has this concept--generating tornados on demand and using them to power our cities!

This so-crazy-it-might-just-work idea could only have come from a Caractacus Potts-type of character, and so it has. Louis Michaud, who came up with the concept in his garage in Toronto,
...has spent the past 40 years studying tornados and hurricanes, and is convinced it's possible to engineer and control powerful, full-scale whirlwinds and harness their energy to produce emission-free electricity.

Forget wind farms and their intermittent operation: the future of electricity generation could be tornado power on demand.

Michaud has adapted this process to create what he calls a vortex engine, and has patented the invention in both Canada and the United States. Recently, he formed a company called AVEtec Energy Corp. with an aim to turning this unconventional – and to many, unthinkable – approach to electr…

The Book of Dust.

Philip Pullman talks about his upcoming sequel to his much-acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, and surprise, surprise, the sequel, called The Book of Dust, will deal with his beliefs on Atheism:
In an interview with Literary Review, Pullman says that The Book of Dust will contain his response to accusations that the previous three books portrayed organised religion as exclusively repressive.

“This is a big subject and I’m writing a big, big book in order to deal precisely with that question,” he tells the magazine. “I don’t want to anticipate it too much by switching a light on the answer now. The interesting – the curious – question is, if people can be helped by something that is palpably not true, is this better than denying the thing that is not true and not being helped?” Well, well! Children's literature has come far since C.S. Lewis, eh? I'd say let some people be helped but don't let them go overboard.

However, I will be much interested in seeing how Lyra's adven…

Weekend Purchases.

We went to the Payless Warehouse Sale at the 3K Inn on Saturday. There were many books, as is usual with Payless's sales, but this time I found the selection wanting. The books were the same old books we've already seen and bought in previous warehouse sales. I decided to concentrate on finding books of genres that I had not bought before at a Payless sale.

I came out with two Dashiell Hammets, one Louis L'amour (don't ask), a book of writings by Marx and Engel (because I'm a closet socialist), and two classic sf books, Starburst by Frederick Pohl, and The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (probably the third time I bought this oft-lost book). I also "accidentally" bought two sf novels which I have absolutely no idea how it got into my book pile. I only noticed them after the guy at the counter had already scanned them in, and by then it was too late to cancel (without making a big fuss). The big downer is that both the sf books are cl…

Visiting Gormenghast For The First Time.

This is the first paragraph of Mervyn Peake's classic, Titus Groan:
Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls. They sprawled over the sloping earth, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock. These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed bl…

Go Armoured Bears!

This extended preview of The Golden Compass, shown at the recent ComicCon, basically tells the whole story in little less than 5 minutes, but if you've already read the book, it's worth a look-see (yes, that was a spoiler warning). As for the movie itself, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green and armoured bears sold me. Yeah. I'm hyped and psyched and ready to watch it. Bring it out already.

Defending Bulwer-Lytton.

Jess Nevins has posted up his defense of Bulwer-Lytton's prose over at No Fear of the Future, saying that the Victorian writer wasn't all that bad:
But Bulwer-Lytton deserves better. Never mind that he wrote in the style of his era, and that to single him out for writing like his contemporaries is unjust. Never mind that other writers who are his stylistic inferiors are not targeted so; no sober critic would read Walter Scott or Fenimore Cooper, and then read Bulwer-Lytton, and declare that Bulwer-Lytton is more deserving of derision. Never mind that, as Jaime Weinman says, "It was a dark and stormy night" isn’t really that bad. (I can find several opening lines in Dickens that are worse). Bulwer-Lytton is of course the inspiration for the infamous contest of bad (made-up) first lines for novels with his "It was a dark and stormy night" leading the way for other terrible prose-stylists.

It looks like they've also announced this year's winners for the …